Winery revamps Plaza restaurant space

By JOYCE SMITH

The Kansas City Star

This vast restaurant space overlooking the Country Club Plaza has struggled to find just the right tenant.

Now Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants has cut the 13,644-square-foot space down to a more digestible size by offering several operations in one.

“It’s a modern, casual restaurant with full working winery and retail center,” said Chris Massengill, general manager of the new restaurant at 4686 Broadway. The space formerly housed a sports bar, 810 Zone, and the Canyon Cafe.

The idea is to make customers feel like they are visiting a Napa Valley winery. They enter a two-story foyer housing the retail shop and wine tasting room with more than 300 bottles stacked up on the wine wall — more than 40 varietals. A server will typically be holding a tray of small wineglasses for a free sample of the featured wine.

Cooper’s Hawk has several dining areas — downstairs and upstairs — along with a bar and private dining room, both with Plaza views. Dark woods and wine-themed paintings — vineyards, grapes, wine bottles — also give the large space a cozier feel.

Cooper’s Hawk was founded in the Chicago area in 2005 and now has 11 locations in five states. It has won numerous regional, national and international awards for its wines.

It offers a mostly seasonal menu, but a few customer favorites — such as pistachio-crusted grouper, red wine and mustard short ribs, and Mexican drunken shrimp — are served year-round. Other menu items include gnocchi carbonara, blackened bacon-wrapped sea scallops, Thai chicken flatbread, pepperjack cheese with jalapeno bacon burger, Caprese Panini, and a monthly cheese platter.

Massengill said Kansas City favorites so far include the sweet chili calamari and the sampler for starters, the tortilla soup, the trio of medallions and the short rib risotto entrees. And for dessert, the Banoffee pie with a graham cracker crust and fresh sliced bananas in a toffee filling and whipped cream.

The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. It will add a Sunday brunch in mid-January.

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Streetside: Curtains for the News Room and Outabounds on Broadway; Cooper’s Hawk Winery debuts

Publication: The Pitch by

First, the good news: There’s a new restaurant in midtown called Mr. Good Chicken. It’s at 3605 Broadway, in the old Messy’s space. I will leave it to The Pitch‘s esteemed food critic, Charles Ferruzza, to evaluate the cuisine. But for the purposes of this column, let’s just say I have a new favorite restaurant in town. Have I eaten there? Not technically, no. But I like the concept — from what I understand, there is an emphasis on poultry — and the branding, and damn it, I’m not going to let any of you cynics bring me down from the high I’ve been riding since I saw the Mr. Good Chicken sign.

Unfortunately, not all businesses are booming on this stretch of Broadway. Outabounds, the gay sports bar just north (3601 Broadway) of Mr. Good Chicken, has closed. That’s one less place to get drinks before shows at the Uptown.

But the real headline last week was the closing of the News Room. Last Friday was its final night of business. According to Bobby Arias, a News Room bartender I spoke with on Friday, and some words scrawled on a piece of paper taped to the front door, it will reopen on New Year’s Eve as the Black and Gold Club.

I ran my mouth all weekend about the shuttering of the News Room and was surprised to discover that nobody else thinks it’s a big deal. “Whenever I found myself hanging out at the News Room,” someone told me, “it was always a strong indication that my personal life was not going very well.” Good riddance seemed to be the prevailing reaction.

That’s understandable. There were a handful of murders outside the place in the 1990s, back when it was called Kenny’s News Room. In 2008, two degenerates beat a patron there within an inch of his life. There haven’t been any dust-ups of that magnitude since (that I’m aware of), but it remained seedy as hell until last week. Yet, in recent years, it had become a decent venue for punk shows, like the Center of the City Fest back in April. And when it comes down to it, joints like the News Room add character to a city. The neighborhood is probably better off with one less established gathering place for small-time criminals, but it seems indecent to let it disappear without at least a parting toast. So, to the News Room: one of the last truly scary midtown dives.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant also has a Broadway address: 4686 Broadway. But things are a little ritzier along its Plaza latitude, which was previously home to 810 Zone and, before that, to Canyon Café. On Saturday, the burgeoning, Illinois-based chain (it has opened 10 Midwest locations since 2005) held a VIP, preopening party for — you guessed it — very important people. Like me.

I was confused upon entering. There were no tables or TVs, just walls with gift items and a semicircular bar for wine tasting. This would not be so jarring if you were in wine country, but a Plaza bar with a gift shop inside is a new one to me. Not that I’m complaining. I did some nice avoiding of conversations while pretending to look at those gifts. Tucked in the back but sharing the first floor with this area is the sleek bar with the high tables and TVs that I had expected to see.

Upstairs is where you eat, and boy, did I eat at this thing. The invitation read, “Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and our award-winning wines will be served from seven to nine o’clock.” This is less information than I like to have going into events such as these. How hearty and plentiful will those hors d’oeuvres be? Are we talking about little crackers and spreads? Or perhaps something more substantial — something that, with a bit of persistence, one might scrape a full meal from? Why must invitations always dance around this vital information? Just tell us: Should we eat before coming or not?

I took a risk and went in hungry. I waved off a glass of champagne and ascended the stairs in search of some circulating waiters. I quickly hunted down a server tending to one of the many upstairs dining areas. (This place is huge, by the way. Nice, too — a fortune must have gone into de-sportsing it, and it shows.)

“What’s this?” I asked him, innocently.

“Fart sandwich,” he said.

No, he didn’t. He said, “Buffalo chicken flatbread.” But nothing he said could have stopped my hand from lunging at the tray he was holding.

“I’ll just have one more,” I said, still chewing the first flatbread.

A few minutes later, as I was patiently staking out the territory of the waiter with the ahi tuna tacos, I spied a row of tables with white tablecloths and huge silver, covered trays on them. My eyes narrowed and focused — not unlike, say, a hawk. Some chefs and waiters were crowded around the area, but no guests. I stomped over.

“What’s going on here?” I asked. “Are these for special guests? Is there food inside those things?”

“Go right ahead,” one of them said. “We just brought them out. They’re ready to serve.”

And that’s how I became the first person in the world to try the entrées at the VIP preopening party at the Cooper’s Hawk Plaza location in Kansas City. Nobody had even used the scoopers yet! Fresh scoopers to scoop the food! My God, the food: short ribs, mashed potatoes, pork medallions, gnocchi carbonara, some chicken-parmesan thing. I went deep, baby. It got wild. By the time the server came around to the table with a plate of chocolate desserts to choose from, I was almost too full to speak. But I pressed on.

“What is that circle thing on the stick?” I asked. My vocabulary was rapidly devolving.

The answer was “cheesecake lollipop.” I didn’t even want it. But what kind of person says, “No, I’m not really interested in trying that cheesecake lollipop.” A sick, boring, soulless person, that’s who.

“Yeah, that …” I said, and then I just kind of grunted and reached for it and ate the entire thing in about 90 seconds and tried not to look anybody else in the eye the rest of the night.

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Cooper’s Hawk opens today on the Plaza

The Pitch – Posted by on Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM

  • Kansas City has a new winery.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant(4686 Broadway) opens today in the former 810 Zone space on the Plaza for lunch and dinner. It’s an innovative concept – a restaurant paired with a winery (there’s a tasting room and a retail shop if you want a bottle of wine to take home) with dishes like pistachio-crusted grouper, red wine and mustard short ribs, and Mexican drunken shrimp. At the head of a new trend, Cooper’s Hawk also offers white wine on tap.

The Illinois import will begin offering brunch service in January. The new restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

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Coopers Hawk Winery VIP Pre-Opening Event

I was over-the-moon excited when given the opportunity to attend the VIP Pre-Opening event at the “new” Coopers Hawk Winery and Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza located in Kansas City, Mo. This Kansas City location will be their eleventh location. After the excitement wore down, I began to think; “What to wear, What to wear?” I decided on a simple gray Adrienne Vittadini with zippers which had peek-a-boo dress effect, black tights, and black heels. Simple!
It took thirty minutes for my date *husband* and I to find a parking space, We traveled throughout three parking lots and finally found a parking spot on lucky garage parking number four was when we hit the jackpot. The Coopers Hawk Winery is located in the old 810 Zone location at 4686 Broadway. I had to snap a picture of the event sign clearly marked closed for a private event.
Upon entry into the event, We were greeted with friendly wait staff that had the nerve to “card” me. I admit, I was flattered and was amazed when the staff could not believe I was in my *thirties*. The lower level of the restaurant is transformed into a modern wine cellar meets gift shop gallery on one side and the other was upscale bar atmosphere.

We took to the stairs to discover the rest of the restaurant. The upper level was modern, upscale and beautifully decorated. The restaurant was filling up with the who’s who in Kansas City and I was honored to be one of them. One of the wait staff informed us of the buffet which hosted some of the restaurants signature dishes which included; Maple, Mustard Pretzel Crusted Pork Medallions, Drunken Shrimp, Cesar Pesto Chopped Salad, and Chicken Gnocchi just to name a few. My personal favorites were the Chicken and Gnocchi (Click here for the recipe) the sauce was creamy, pancetta was thick cut, and the chicken was cooked and seasoned perfectly.  The Maple, Mustard and Pretzel Crusted Pork Medallions was so tender you could cut it with your fork *no knife required*, its odd and unique blends of maple and mustard balanced the your taste buds with sweet and a dash of tang without having an over barring mustard flavor.  The crust was ground so fine, I was unaware it was pretzels until our wait staff informed me.  After we sat and nibbled on food for a short time, We were offered a drink menu and were told to order whatever we like. I am not a drinker and usually despise even the faint taste of alcohol (outside of Moscato Di-Asti).  I ordered Dana’s Pineappletini which consisted of their Special Pineapple and Coconut Infused Vodka, Sparkling Wine, and Juices. The beverage had a faint hint of alcohol, but nothing too heavy for the inexperienced drinker like myself. I highly recommend it, the taste kind of reminded me of a pina-colada with a twist. I found it to be refreshing, smooth, and delightful.  My husband ordered the Green Appletini and for those who enjoy the taste of alcohol this drink was poured with the receiver in mind.
We finished the evening off by being offered a assortment tray of delectable homemade desserts, which included chocolate covered strawberries, cheesecake lollipops, and truffles. I had to try one of each, So I could inform you’ll about their desserts thoroughly (and I’m sticking to it). The chocolate strawberries were made of the purest form of dark and milk chocolate and the strawberries were red and perfectly ripe, the chocolate covered cheesecake lollipop had a hard shell exterior of chocolate and housed velvety smooth cheesecake. I believe Cooper’s Hawk will give Russell Stover’s a run for their money when Valentine’s day arrives.
Congrats to Cooper’s Hawk on delivering a highly successful pre-opening event. I was impressed with the wait staff specifically Kelly who was very knowledgeable and gave fantastic recommendations on the menu for my next visit. The restaurant will give you a modern, upscale, yet casual dining experience. If you are a wine enthusiast, Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club is an all-inclusive membership where you will not only receive our winemaker’s newly released wine each month, but also enjoy many great benefits including invitations to members-only events, exclusive discounts, points on purchases, birthday rewards, and our Wine Club Newsletter with information on new wines, special events, and great recipes. As we exited the event, we were thanked and given a gift bag that included, a restaurant magnet, pen, wine glass, menus, and a complimentary wine tasting for two. I was highly impressed with my overall experience and the atmosphere. I am recommending that everyone give them a try. You will not be disappointed. They open today December 10th. It’s a perfect place to have a drink and unwind after work, the perfect date night, and night out with the fella’s or girl’s. My prediction is Cooper’s Hawk will rise to become that “IT” place on the plaza. The place will everyone will know their name. Cheers!

Cooper’s Hawk Winery sets December opening on Plaza

Kansas City Business Journal                                                                                         by Brenna Hawley, Reporter                                                                                        Date: Friday, November 16, 2012, 1:40pm CST

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant will open on the Country Club Plaza on Dec. 10.  It will hire about 150 employees for the 13,644-square-foot restaurant.

Cooper’s Hawk first announced its entrance into the Kansas City market in April. It is taking the former 810 Zone space at 4686 Broadway next to Pottery Barn.

The casual dining chain makes its own wine, producing more than 125,000 cases a year. The menu, which includes gluten-free options, features items such as pistachio-crusted grouper, Mexican drunken shrimp, and red wine and mustard short ribs.

It will serve lunch and dinner, as well as a Sunday brunch. Restaurant features include private rooms, a gluten-free menu, a life-balance menu for healthy eaters, a full-service bar and a Napa-style tasting room complete with a gift store.

The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, with brunch running until 2 p.m.

The Plaza Cooper’s Hawk will be the first in the metro area and in Missouri. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants has six locations in Illinois, two in Indiana and one in Wisconsin, according to its website.

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Brenna reports for In Depth sections and about local restaurants. She also does copy editing and handles People on the Move.

Country Club Plaza adds more new stores ahead of the holidays

http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2012/09/13/country-club-plaza-adds-more-new.html?page=all
Web Producer- Kansas City Business Journal

The Country Club Plaza is decking its streets with new stores just in time for the holiday shopping season.

New retailers opening at the Kansas City shopping destination include Rusty Spur Couture, Rosehill Gardens and Tulip.

The shops join previously announced additions such as Moosejaw, Boulevard Dry Goods, Lululemon Athletica, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant and Parlor: A Beauty Bar.

Here are details about the new stores and their openings:

Rusty Spur Couture opened Sept. 1 at 610 W. 48th St., near O’Dowd’s and Three Dog Bakery. The 1,564-square-foot western-wear store is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. (See Rusty Spur’s website)

On its heels came Rosehill Gardens, which opened Sept. 10 at 340 W. 47th Street, across from the Pottery Barn. The 4,155-square-foot store will be open only for the holidays, offering gifts, greenery, trees, wreaths, garlands and other holiday decor. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. (See Rosehill’s website)

Tulip’s new store, set to open in mid-September, will be its second Kansas City-area location, joining one in Prairie Village. Located at 606 W. 48th Street, the Plaza boutique will offer contemporary clothing and accessories for women. (See Tulip’s website)

Here’s the latest on the previously announced stores:

Moosejaw opened Sept. 1 in a 4,200-square-foot space at 439 W. 47th Street. Located next to American Apparel, it offers fine outerwear and outdoor apparel and gear. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

The seasonal Boulevard Dry Goods store also plans to open this month, taking a 1,277-square-foot space at 4703 Broadway, across from Apple. The store, a new offering from Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Co., will sell merchandise, apparel and bar goods for the home, as well as books and locally sourced products.

Lululemon Athletica (Nasdaq: LULU) will open its second Kansas City-area store later in the fall. The 3,200-square-foot store, which sells certain athletic apparel and gear, will be at 444 Nichols Road, next to Burberry.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant also will open later in the fall, taking the former 810 Zone space at 4686 Broadway, just north of Pottery Barn.

Parlor: A Beauty Bar, a blow-dry and cosmetic bar, is set to open in an 877-square-foot space at 608 1/2 W. 48th St., just in time to kick off the Plaza Art Fair on Sept. 21.